Nuclear Output Rises Most Since January on McGuire 1 Unit

U.S. nuclear-power generation rose the most since Jan. 29 as Duke Energy Corp. returned McGuire 1 to the grid and output climbed in all regions.

Nationwide production increased 1 percent to 85,845 megawatts, or 84 percent of capacity, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission data compiled by Bloomberg. Output was 0.3 percent higher than a year ago, with 15 of 104 reactors offline.

McGuire 1, a 1,100-megawatt reactor in North Carolina, operated at 46 percent of capacity, up from 10 percent yesterday. The unit tripped offline Feb. 21 after a loss of both main feedwater pumps, which supply water to the steam generator, a filing with the commission showed. The plant is about 17 miles (27 kilometers) north of Charlotte.

Exelon Corp. restored the 867-megawatt Dresden 3 reactor to full power from 75 percent of capacity yesterday. The unit, 23 miles southwest of Joliet, Illinois, led Midwestern production to the highest level since Feb. 15.

In the Northeast, output climbed 1.8 percent as Entergy Corp.’s 852-megawatt Fitzpatrick 1 returned to full power from 50 percent of capacity yesterday. The unit is 6 miles northeast of Oswego, New York.

The Tennessee Valley Authority shut Sequoyah 2, a 1,126-megawatt unit, yesterday because of a faulty test connection on the condenser vacuum pressure switch, according to a commission filing. The unit, 10 miles northeast of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was at 25 percent capacity at the time.

Reactor maintenance shutdowns, usually undertaken in the U.S. spring or fall when energy use is at its lowest, may increase consumption of natural gas and coal to generate electricity. The average refueling down time was 46 days in 2012, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

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